Supreme Court

Dialogue. And listen.

October 10, 2020

And lead.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg “knew the power of example—that if you live your own life according to your principles, others will follow,” writes her former clerk, Ryan Y. Park, Solicitor General of North Carolina.

The Atlantic

My Friend and Boss, Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Constructive journalism is a response to increasing tabloidization, sensationalism and negativity bias of the news media today.
Evan Osnos, staff writer at the New Yorker:

“A big deal in the revival of local news: Nonprofit Mountain State Spotlight

“Mountain Spotlight launched in #WV with local/national support, and some of the best journalists in Appalachia. This is interesting for anyone wondering how to repair our democracy.”

Dialoging.

Dr. David Bohm:

“Dialogue is really aimed at going into the whole thought process and changing the way the thought process occurs collectively. We haven’t really paid much attention to thought as a process. We have engaged in thoughts, but we have only paid attention to the content, not to the process.

It is proposed that a form of free dialogue may well be one of the most effective ways of investigating the crisis which faces society, and indeed the whole of human nature and consciousness today. Moreover, it may turn out that such a form of free exchange of ideas and information is of fundamental relevance for transforming culture and freeing it of destructive misinformation, so that creativity can be liberated.”

Leah Garces:

The first lesson I learned is that we have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Only talking to people who agree with us, it’s not going to get us to the solution. We have to be willing to enter other people’s space. Because quite often, the enemy has the power to change the problem that we’re trying to solve.

The world’s smallest and biggest problems, they won’t be solved by beating down our enemies but by finding these win-win pathways together. It does require us to let go of that idea of us versus them and realize there’s only one us, all of us, against an unjust system. And it is difficult, and messy, and uncomfortable.

Seth Godin:

The arc and the arch.

They sound similar, but they’re not.

An arc, like an arch, is bent. The strength comes from that bend.

But the arc doesn’t have to be supported at both ends, and the arc is more flexible. The arc can take us to parts unknown, yet it has a trajectory.

An arch, on the other hand, is a solid structure. It’s a bridge that others have already walked over.

Our life is filled with both. We’re trained on arches, encouraged to seek them out.

But an arc, which comes from “arrow,” is the rare ability to take flight and to go further than you or others expected.

HOW TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH YOUR POLITICAL OPPONENTS
SANNE BLAUW

This story is from Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild.

‘For this book, the professor emerita of sociology immersed herself in the American political right wing. Over the course of five years, she regularly stayed in ultraconservative “Bayou Country” in Louisiana. She herself comes from lefter than left Berkeley, California. She couldn’t have left her bubble any further behind.

‘When left-wing sociologist Arlie Hochschild went to live in a right-wing stronghold in the American South, she was entering “enemy” territory.

But, by listening to the people there – instead of arguing against them – she distilled a clear picture: right-wing Trump supporters felt like victims of a society that had left them behind.

In an era where debate has descended into a televised shouting match, it’s easy to feel like you’re at war with people who disagree with you.

But Hochschild learned that by laying down our arms and trying to understand, even empathise with, our political opponents, we can learn how to have constructive political conversations.’

You don’t have to agree with political opponents to understand where they’re coming from

‘Having a heart-to-heart conversation with an ideological opponent can feel uncomfortable – unsafe even. But sociologist Arlie Hochschild proves that it pays off. She immersed herself in a conservative stronghold in the Southern United States for five years and wrote a book about it.’

Not everyone agrees with this approach, Hochschild said during a 2016 interview with Ezra Klein. It can feel as though you’re surrendering, laying down your weapons and walking over to the enemy. But, she says:

Whether it’s about corona, climate or benefits, let’s carry out these diplomatic missions more often. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with each other, but at least you’re making a genuine attempt to understand the other person.’


 

Kavanaugh, Rot, Corruption & Capitalism

October 7, 2018

“You only live 26,000 days — wear them out.”  Quincy Jones

The Economy’s Not Booming. Capitalism Is.

What Happens Capitalism Booms — But Only at Everyone Else’s Expense?

by, Umair Haque

“Here’s a secret.

The economy’s not booming — capitalism is. And “the economy” and “capitalism” are hardly the same thing. Hence, economic indicators have stopped telling us how well people’s lives are really faring — the state of their true “welfare”, as it were, which is an economic term for general prosperity (not handouts) — in striking, sharp, and gruesome ways.

That difference is the story that isn’t told. It can’t be — because American economists assume that capitalism is the answer to the question they should be asking. “What kind of institutions does real prosperity require?” Assumption: only capitalist ones. They’re playing Jeopardy — not thinking about society. Hence — “the economy’s booming!!” — as long as a few measures of capitalism are. And over the years, even those measures — which were largely empty to begin with — have had whatever tiny shreds of meaning which were once in them plucked out, excised, and removed.”

[full article: https://eand.co/the-economys-not-booming-capitalism-is-8a180c97e06d]

Constitutional Rot Reaches the Supreme Court

by, Jack M. Balkin

“The fight over the Kavanaugh appointment exemplifies our country’s advanced case of constitutional rot. The rot has been growing for some time, and has now reached the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court is unlikely to save us from decay.  We will have to do that ourselves.

As I have argued in this lecture, our country has gone through cycles of constitutional rot and renewal throughout its history.  We are at (what we can only hope is) the most extreme point in a cycle of constitutional rot. Unfortunately, we are also at the high point of a cycle of party polarization. And, to make matters worse, we are also at the end of the debilitated Reagan regime, with a new political regime yet to be born. The endings of political regimes are highly confusing periods regardless; extreme party polarization and advanced constitutional rot make our current period even more difficult.

[…]

Right now we are in an especially corrupt moment and the courts are unlikely to help extricate us. They may even make things worse in the short run. And they are likely to be compromised and tainted by the corruption that surrounds them. But that does not make me a Thayerian or a Holmesian. One should be guided by the nature of the times. Rather than oppose judicial review per se, one should simply not expect too much from courts, and endeavor to keep them from doing too much harm. Things will eventually change. In the meantime, it is best not to look to an institution that cannot and will not help the country.

The lesson of history seems clear enough: During a period of advanced constitutional rot and high political polarization the federal courts are unlikely to be an instrument of constitutional renewal. Renewal will have to come from political mobilization instead.”

https://balkin.blogspot.com/2018/10/constitutional-rot-reaches-supreme-court.html?m=1]

[Not only is he a sexual predator and liar, Brett Kavanaugh has overruled federal regulators 75 times on such cases as clean air, consumer protections and net neutrality.]

‘We come with all these parts and no instruction on how to put them together.’

-Mark Nepo

Out and about this morning the predominate conversations were about the Supreme Court confirmation and our current administration. One women in her early 70s told an acquaintance, “I was raised in a Republican house my entire life and my parents would be outraged.” The vile and decisive rhetoric continued from the oval shaped office this morning with slander and additional lies. McConnell, already planning his re-election to the senate in 2020 (He’s 76), said in a report on Saturday, the day of BK’s confirmation, that he isn’t done with his “project” to revamp the nation’s courts. U.S. historian Jon Meacham assured us in Ketchum on Wednesday [10.3] our “Constitution was written for moments like this, and “the Founders would be surprised it took us this long” to get a president like D.T. He added: “In the past, we have moved past these times, eras, to endure and prevail.” The political climate did not commence with 2016. The current narcistic and corrupt leader landed on a throne built by an ideology developed in the 70s and 80s. Its creator did not live to see it to fruition, but those around him did. This article by Senior Research Analyst Lynn Parramore, Institute for New Economic Thinking, lends acute awareness to James McGill Buchanan ideology, a Tennessee-born Nobel laureate. “If he were alive today, it would suit him just find that most well-informed journalists, liberal politicians, and even many economics students have little understanding of his work. If Americans really knew what Buchanan thought and promoted, and how destructively his vision is manifesting under their noses, it would dawn on them how close the country is to a transformation most would not even want to imagine, much less accept.” This is not conspiracy. Parramore’s analysis is based on research by Duke University historian Nancy MacLean (‘Democracy in Chains’, 2017). She could not “gain access to Buchanan’s papers to test her hypothesis until after his death in January 2013. Billionaire industrialist Charles Koch was a big fan and has pushed Buchanan’s ideology into our politics and policies for decades. It’s a worthy, and important, read as we approach another election. It has connected so many dots for me socially and politically, explaining the IS of, why is this happening? “Concepts determine the route that attention follows” [N. Goddard].

https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/meet-the-economist-behind-the-one-percents-stealth-takeover-of-america#disqus_thread

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s like incredible.” For anyone who missed it last week, the ⁦NYTimes reprints the extraordinary journalistic year-long investigation of DT’s corrupt tax schemes in today’s print paper.

https://www.nytimes.com/…/donald-trump-tax-schemes-fred…

#NOV6

Established in 1982.

July 8, 2018

‘An elite network of white dudes changing the world.’  -Samantha Bee 

Ian Millhiser, a legal policy analyst at the progressive Center for American Progress: noted. The movement simply continues to build up new talent in the off-years.

“What the Federalist Society does really well, is it identifies that really really right-wing kid at Harvard Law School who is legitimately talented and who will do horrible things to the law but will do it very competently because they’re a very talented lawyer,” added Millhiser. “And they identify those people, and from the beginning of their career, give them opportunities, help them find those clerkships, help them network.”

The Federalist Society is one of the most powerful and unique organizations in the conservative orbit, describing itself as “a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order.”

Throughout its history, the group, founded in 1982 at Yale Law School, has prided itself on not explicitly taking policy positions on issues but rather creating the conditions in which conservative legal ideas can be debated and thrive. This year, the conference takes place in an environment that is perhaps more amenable to these ideas than at any time in recent years.

[The Federalist SocietyBy Amanda Terkel, HuffPost, 2011]

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/18/federalist-society-post-bush_n_785049.html

The Federalist Society will soon have a 5–4 stranglehold on the Supreme Court.

[Slate, Lawrence Baum & Neal Devins]

In appointing a Federalist justice, DT will be sealing a deal between Republican presidents and the conservative legal movement. In effect, that deal began in 1985. Under the leadership of Attorney General Edwin Meese, the Department of Justice in Ronald Reagan’s second term sought aggressively to advance conservative goals in the judiciary. By hiring staffers on the basis of ideological commitment, Meese sought to groom young conservative lawyers who would later become federal court judges. The Federalist Society—established as a law student group in 1982—was an important component of this strategy; it enabled Meese and others in the administration to identify promising candidates for significant government posts. Meese hired the society’s founders as special assistants and tapped Stephen Markman, who headed the Washington chapter of the Federalist Society, to become the assistant attorney general in charge of judicial selection.

[…]

Unlike DT’s finalists, Kennedy was not associated with the Federalist Society or the conservative legal movement. His voting record bears this out. Kennedy took moderate to liberal positions on some highly visible issues. He voted to reaffirm Roe v. Wade in 1992 and ruled against Texas’ stringent abortion regulations in 2016.

[…]

With the appointment of a new justice, the Republican majority on the court will be composed of justices who have risen through the ranks of the conservative legal movement and who are committed to the ideals of that movement. It will truly be the Federalist Society’s court.

NOTE:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a Federalist Society member.

 

Bernie Sanders: ‘It’s time to come together.’

July 28, 2016
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) takes the stage to deliver a speech on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Monday, July 25, 2016. Credit: Philip Montgomery for The New Yorker

New Yorker

‘Now, more than ever, is the time for millions of families to come together and revitalize American democracy.’

-Bernie Sanders

“As he put it last July, in an interview aired on C-span, when he was asked whether he would ever run as a third-party candidate, “I made the promise that I would not, and I will keep that promise. And the reason for that is I do not want to be responsible for electing some right-wing Republican to be President of the United States.” Sanders has kept that promise in letter, and in spirit, by endorsing Hillary Clinton. He’s doing what he said he’d do, and saying why. “Think about the Supreme Court Justices that Donald Trump would nominate and what that would mean to civil liberties, equal rights, and the future of our country,” Sanders said last night. He does not want to turn over the country to a racist demagogue who would irreparably damage it, when there is a candidate who agrees with him on many, if not all, issues and who is temperamentally and intellectually capable of doing the job.”

[…]

“No President, no matter how well-intentioned or progressive, can make any real change without the moral and pragmatic pressure of a grassroots movement. And he said it again last night, because Sanders is nothing if not consistent. “Election days come and go, but the struggle of the people to create a government which represents all of us and not just the one per cent . . . that struggle continues.”

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/bernie-sanderss-struggle-continues

Photo:Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) takes the stage to deliver a speech on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Monday, July 25, 2016.
Credit: Philip Montgomery for The New Yorker

 

1924 Immigration Law & Anne Frank

February 27, 2016

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‘NPR’s Robert Siegel discusses Adam Cohen’s new book telling the story of the 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, the ruling permitted the state of Virginia to sterilize an ‘imbecile’ – – a scientific term of the day.’

How many people, ultimately, in the U.S. do we think were sterilized under cover of such laws?

Well, we think about 70,000, which is an extraordinary number. But then, an untold number of other people were just taken away, as Carrie Buck and her mother had been, and kept in colonies so that they couldn’t reproduce. And that’s another kind of punishment that eugenics inflicted on a large number of Americans. You know, there’s one other group that, you know, was very terribly harmed, which is all the people who would’ve immigrated to America but for the 1924 immigration law that was enacted for eugenic reasons. And this intentionally shut off immigration of Jews, Italians and Asians, who were thought to be genetically less gifted, and prevented a lot of Jews from fleeing Nazi Germany. And as we know, some letters came to light some years ago in which Otto Frank wrote to the State Department trying to get visas for his family, including his daughter, Anne Frank. And they were turned down because of this 1924 law. So it’s interesting that when we tell the story of Anne Frank we think that, you know, she died in [Bergen-Belsen] because the Nazis thought that Jews were inferior. But to some extent, she also died in [Bergen-Belsen] because the American Congress thought that Jews and other people like that were inferior and closed the door to them.

http://www.npr.org/2016/02/26/468297940/imbeciles-explores-legacy-of-eugenics-in-america

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